It's easy enough in racing to talk about how to find the winning selections. This is a matter we wrote about in last month's issue of P.P.M. We showed you how to apply various form factors to arrive at a logical conclusion.

The task facing any punter BEFORE, assessing form in a race is to decide which races to bet. It's not overstating the case to say, quite emphatically, that most punters tend to overbet, particularly if they have a good win. With confidence high, they plough on into far too many bets, and subsequently emerge losers.

It has often been said that you cannot beat the races, but you can beat a race. Many punters do so, systematically, carefully, thou unemotionally and scientifically. You, too, with intelligence and patience - and self-control - can use the factors we revealed to provide yourself with a lucrative part-time business (winning at betting!).

This success, though, must come with a great degree of commonsense.You cannot always beat a given race with absolute certainty - there are just too many variables involved and too many ways to lose a single race.

You have to choose the right races. Usually, these will be the main races on any race programme. The Open handicaps and the Welters. During the big carnivals you can also throw in Weight-For-Age events. In the long run, a judicious pruning of a programme will help you beat the races, of that we have no doubts at all.

Remember this: No professional, in any sphere at all, is ever successful without exacting preparation. No lawyer goes to court without detailed briefs (and we don't mean his underpants). In short, then, you must be prepared, be professional; analyse your mistakes and pay for them ungrudgingly.

While we are confident you can find many winners using our form factors approach, we admit at the same time that you will only strike a certain percentage of winners. Should you apply, the principles to every race, irrespective of class or worth, the win strike rate is certain to be lower than if you carefully choose the right races.

If we look at a recent Saturday lineup in Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, we can show you which races we chose to look at. In Sydney (July 18), at Rosehill, the main race was the Winter Cup, with the second-best race being the Blue W, inter Handicap. We decided to assess both race's because the formlines were well exposed and we anticipated that a 'formful' horse would win each race.

In Melbourne, at Caulfield, the main race was the Sir John Monash Stakes, followed by the Syme Welter. This latter race comprised ordinary gallopers and we weren't confident at all that the winner could be found in a few selections, given some of the erratic performances of quite a number of the runners.

We assessed only the Sir John Monash Stakes. In Brisbane, at Eagle Farm, the Tattersalls. We was the main race. This day's card at the Farm was brimming with big fields, and the Tatts mile was no exception. We decided it was too hard to handle and, instead, turned to the final race on the card, which looked easier to assess.

So, on the day, we had a look at just four races in three metropolitan areas m three different States. You might think to yourself that four races is not going to provide much fun, action or profits - but you can't consider fun and action in the same vein as potential profits.

Winning has to be put before any other self-indulgences, like betting on every race, or even every other race. Why do bookmakers prosper? Because they treat racing as a business, while 99 per cent of punters regard it purely as a sport.

Let's look now at our assessments for the Winter Cup at Rosehill. Firstly, the form factor points method clearly indicated that Moods were unlikely to win. It came up with only a handful of points.

On our ratings of previous races, we had more or less narrowed the field down to Destiny Boy, Anything's Possible, Sir Creag, In The Money and Aulone Star. We paid close attention to all these runners.

Using our Key Rules for Assessment, we came up with Destiny Boy, Anything's Possible and Sir Creag as the final three to consider. Given that Anything's Possible and Sir Creag had higher previous ratings than Destiny Boy we eventually decided these were the two to bet.

We were more confident about Anything's Possible than Sir Creag, mainly because Sir Creag, although a last-start winner, was facing a steep rise in class, and we had suspicions about his ability to handle the class rise and repeat the rating he had registered at his last start.

We did, though, decide to take a small 'saver' bet on him at the longish odds available. Our main bet went on Anything's Possible and it's pleasing to report that he won easily at 3/1. In second place was Aulone Star, who had been in our initial main five for consideration.

Remember, then, that you must try to pick out the best races, and try to stick with races that do not present you with big fields of between eight and fourteen runners are normally enough. Anything beyond this makes your form analysis just that much more difficult, and poses the likelihood of upset results, along with possible interference to your fancied runner(s).

Click here to read Part 1.
Click here to read Part 2

By Alan Jacobs & Ted Davis